Off the back of Spain’s heroics in South Africa the feel good factor is certainly going to last in the Mediterranean for the next four years at least as their national team marvelled us all with their beautiful football during the course of a month.
Over the last three and half years they had the eyes of the world fixated on their every performance as their dazzling ways with a ball at their feet has mesmerised us all. They have defined beauty with the sport as they cruised to a European Championship in 2008 and have now captured footballs eighteen carat gold prize. This is dominance of sheer magnitude.
This success however has been highly contributed by those from the Catalonian giants Barcelona. In total, six of Barca’s men figured predominantly in the Spaniards quest for World Cup glory, not forgetting Pedro who came into the fold for the Semi-Final onwards to replace Fernando Torres.
In the final against the Netherlands there were a total of seven Barcelona players with just three from Madrid and Capdevilla from Villarreal. The core of the team alone is Barca based. Not to mention the entire spine with the exception of Casillas in goal. Carlos Puyol and Gerard Pique partnered each other in the centre of defence with Busquets supporting Xavi and Iniesta with their latest recruit David Villa spearheading the attack. The entire setup is heavily influenced by The Blaugrana’s stars.
With Spain now at the peak of their powers and only looking to get stronger, where does this leave them domestically? In regards to those at Barcelona they were winners already having bagged another La Liga title last season including their other major accomplishments over the last few seasons which have included two European Cups and a World Club Championship. Those involved with the majority of those triumphs have been involved in proceedings within Africa.
You just have to look at the Spanish contingent alone in Barca’s ranks. The central defensive partnership between Puyol and Pique has swiftly established itself as the most commanding in world football. Puyol being near ten years older than his colleague proves how vital his experience and ability has helped aid the growth in Pique’s education. The two not only commanded their area sufficiently they restricted all seven of their opponents attackers with the exception of Switzerland who inflicted their opening defeat and Chile who also netted against them. Conceding just two goals emphasises the stability in that particular area.
Sergio Busquets’s rise in the last two years has been staggering. He has firmly cemented his place at both his club and national team. Last season he was able to oust Yaya Toure from Pep Guardiola’s team for the majority of the campaign and established the holding role to near perfection. His defensive capabilities are fantastic as well as being calm and collected with his ball control and passing ability. He is vastly mature for his age, just being 21.
He is just one of a large number of stars to come through the infamous Barca academy where they learn how to play the beautiful game as well as being educated on the nitty-gritty aspects of tracking back and winning the ball back defensively. Busquets has certainly mastered that area. He is an integral figure for his club and now for his national side as he ultimately replaced Marcos Senna who had been a catalyst for the Spaniards two years prior in Austria and Switzerland. Busquets has adapted to the task vigorously and commanded his position superbly.
Yaya Toure has now departed for the North-West of England with Manchester City. This signals the clubs intent to utilise the young Spaniard as their man holding midfielder behind Iniesta and Xavi. The lad has done wonders with a strong minded ambition of wanting to play at the very top. It’s a testament to his character.
The attacking emphasis of La Roja was spearheaded by the influence of those who grace their presence in the Camp Nou over the course of a domestic and European season. Two names ; Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez. These two men have cemented a legacy as one of the most influential partnerships in world football.
Their involvment has been staggeringly instrumental for club and country. Over the last five years they have gradually got better and better as individuals and as a partnership. Their elegance on the ball is a sight to behold. Their attributes are so grand and never fail when they come into practice in competitive games.
In South Africa they continued their understanding which has been implemented into their football psychology. Growing up together in Barcelona as well as playing together every single week has benefited the national team hugely. Had both players been at different clubs, who is to say if they would be the players they are today?
One and the other are so vital for the success of their teams. There really isn’t a partnership in football quite like Xavi and Iniesta. They define beauty with the ball and are near certainties to be in the reckoning of the FIFA Ballon d’OR at the turn of next year.
It is a fundamental that if Barcelona are to be successful yet again those two masters need to be in tune with one another as always and barring no injuries to either man you can’t see anything but. They are a true pioneers of the modern game.
The Catalan giants were near off complete last season but have added a certain David Villa to their attack. The 28 year old completed his move from Valencia just before the start of the World Cup finals for a fee just over £28million. His predatory instincts and presence at the top end of the field are as good as anybody’s in the game. He proved once again in the World Cup his capabilities when it comes to goal scoring and netted five times. He only missed out on the golden boot to Thomas Muller due to a lack of assists.
His inclusion to the setup at Barca is going to frighten the rest of Europe. With the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and not forgetting the best player on the planet Lionel Messi all working in tandem with their new striker how can they not terrorise opposition defensives? They are probably the four best players in the world right now, and they now all adorn the claret and blue stripes. How can they be stopped?
You would feel that the Catalan side will more or less win the majority of their games during the team line-ups prior to a match as opposing teams gaze on in awe at the wealth of talent that stands against them. It could be more of a psychological battle for teams to endure which will hinder their performances.
Barcelona have proved under the leadership of Pep Guardiola just how dominant they are. If it hadn’t been for the masterful Jose Mourinho they may very well have retained their Champions League crown. With David Villa now in the side and the majority of their team coming off the back of World Cup glory they will be as strong as they’ve ever been. They play in the greatest side in International football and are now about to embark on a domestic campaign where they may just end up dominating La Liga and Europe.
And this isn’t even considering the prospect of Cesc Fabregas potentially joining the Barca ranks.